If blogging was like a dancing game…Just Write.

This is an arcade version (yes, I'm a fan).
This is an arcade version (yes, I’m a fan).

For those who might not know, as well as a Lady Gaga song, Just Dance is a video game which originally came out at the end of 2009 for the Wii.

You attempt to mimic the moves on-screen and you get points for how well you do them. The more you hit the moves, the higher your score but you can play it even if you think you can’t dance. And, like most things, the more you do it, the better you get.

Blogging can be a bit like that, I think.

I’ve been reading a lot of ‘how to be a blogger’ type posts lately. And, as well as things such the importance of a clear and simple layout and good photos, they all stress the need for correct grammar, lack of waffle or overly flowery language, good spelling and punctuation.

In my opinion, and what I know about blogging would probably fit into one sentence, most of them are missing a final paragraph.

I would add: “Take note of all of the points above and…ignore them – at least for a while. If you have something to say, a message to share or a story to tell, just write. Don’t let the fact that you think you can’t spell, use the odd wrong word or are sometimes not sure about commas put you off.”

I don’t mean that in a patronising way; I am no expert, as I’m sure you can tell, and as the subs who edit my work copy would probably queue up to tell you.

But people who wield grammar and use of language as a weapon to silence or shut down what someone is trying to say infuriate me. I’ve seen it many times; when a person has nothing to counter an argument and zooms in on the fact that the other person has written “your” when they meant “you’re” to take the attention away.

For the record, I don’t think any of the blog posts I have read are trying to do that but it’s a touchy subject for me – and, reading some of the comments, I think for a lot of other people too.

I hated school and if I could get out of going, I would. Not because I didn’t like learning but because I did – and unfortunately my classroom wasn’t the place for that. My mum will say: “Well you did ok” but the lack of basic knowledge left me without a foundation to build on. It was (and still is) a problem – albeit one I have worked to put right.

You see, I had a dream. From the age of nine, I wanted to be a journalist.

At various points, starting at school, people told me I would never achieve it because I couldn’t spell or I didn’t understand this or that about how to use language. Luckily, I didn’t have a Plan B.

I make no secret of the fact that I love my job but, I suppose like most good things, it hasn’t come easy. It has been steep learning curve which, at some points, was awful, but I have worked hard and it has been worth every second for the privilege of telling other people’s stories – and hopefully, now, telling them well.

If you’re worried about the trolls, and unfortunately they probably will come, write just for your eyes at the start (a bit like me dancing in my living room). Build up your confidence and your knowledge.

Read.

Learn.

But never let anyone tell you you can’t.

The dancing games have different levels and you can progress from easy to extreme/hard if you get better or, like me, you can just stick to easy and enjoy it.

I think blogging is the same.

The “how to” posts are correct, you’re not going to get on the high score leaderboard of blogging without the skills but not everyone wants that. Don’t let it stop you from saying what you want  and enjoying it.

Just write.

And, just in case you’re interested. Here is a nice young man showing you how Just Dance is played.

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29 thoughts on “If blogging was like a dancing game…Just Write.

  1. I love this, Tara, I completely agree. I freely admit to being a terrible grammar pedant. As you say not everyone wants to be top blogger, and people can write (or dance) like there’s no one watching. There’s room for everyone, and we shouldn’t put off anyone who wants to start a blog because they’re not quite sure about apostrophes. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I started blogging in 2006 as part of my degree.

    There weren’t any “how to blog” blog posts then. Now it’s all about the money. Funnily enough, the bloggers who were in it back then for the money are pretty much all gone and yet, I’m still here, boring the pants off anyone who bothers to drop by.

    Hah!

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    1. Cor, 2006 is proper old school 🙂 You’ve done well to keep it up. I had an anonymous one many years ago but it didn’t last very long. I think making money out of it would take a lot of work.

      Your blog isn’t boring, I really enjoy your posts.

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  3. Brilliant post. I can’t bear (bare?!) grammar pendants. People should be as careful and accurate as they like with their own work without openly casting judgment on others, unless it is asked for. I hate the thought of people being put off or their work undermined. Very well said!

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    1. Hah! I have to look up bear/bare 🙂 Thank you for your comment. It’s something I really feel passionately about. I wonder how many stories are prevented from being told because of it and that makes me really sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Saw you stop by a blog I follow and decided to check you out. (Creepy…lol) Loved this post! I am one of those that isn’t looking for fancy perfect blogs. I want to read stories about real life and real people. People like me. This was a great post! Thanks for the read!

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  5. Spot on! I’m a little sick of seeing all the, ‘how to’s’ and ‘Rules of this and that’ type posts, it seems for some people that’s all they do instead of actually telling their stories (or letting others tell theirs), it comes off as very condescending too.

    I personally love the variety out there, and would be bored to tears if everyone did the same thing. Fair play to those who its about earning a living and they’re promoting products, etc, but when I’m confronted with the same generic formats my brain switches off (and its doesn’t really work right anyways :D) and I don’t usually hang about those blogs for very long at all! Passion for what you do is always a winner and it shows.

    Trolls! Brilliant, I have a lot of experience ‘battling’ trolls, as a female metalhead who has posted on metal boards back in the day I have had some epic ‘fights’ online, I can’t even guess at the amount of I’ve been called the ‘C’ word either! 😉

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    1. Thank you. You sound like you can handle the trolls. As you probably know from Facebook, I’m not a fan of the c-word 😀 It was my greatest achievement when the worst offenders at work stopped saying the actual word. It just makes me cringe for some reason.

      In my day, when trolls used (green) pen and ink to write insulting letters, there was no way to respond (as they were so often anonymous) so I suppose at least we get our say now. They used to make me so angry and often upset in the early days because they generally weren’t disagreeing with what I was saying but attacking me personally. It took a while for the thick skin to appear. Although I generally don’t read below the line on work stories now and don’t publish obvious troll comments (constructive criticism is fine) on here.

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  6. What a great post! And too true. It would be great if people could read blog post for their message rather than the misspelling out of place comma. I wish my grammar and spelling were better and I do proof read but I am sure things get past me, and I hate to think that people are stopping reading or getting annoyed by things like this when they read my blog. I can’t dance but I would give it a go in my own home (with the curtains drawn hehe) and in that same way I am giving blogging a go.

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    1. Thanks Jenni. Exactly that. I personally think the more you do it (blogging and dancing) the better you get at it – although, for the record, I really enjoy reading your blog and have never noticed any problems 🙂

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  7. This is a great post and one I thoroughly agree with! When I first started blogging (over two years ago) I constantly second-guessed myself and although I still do to a certain extent, I feel much freer to be myself now. You could get completely caught up with getting it ‘right’ and doing what you’re ‘supposed to’ but really, what would be the point of the bloggoshere if everyone followed the same rules? One of the great things about blogging is the individuality expressed, which allows you to find a niche as a writer and a reader. I’m glad to have found your blog! Thanks for sharing this with #WhatImWriting x

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  8. Loved reading this. I too hated school. It was too drab. And I ended up in a career I didn’t want. The dream was to write. I started blogging a couple of years ago and, although nowhere near as good as some fantastic bloggers and writers out there, am reasonably happy doing it #whatimwriting

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  9. So important – for blogging, and for novel-writing too! The amount of days when I’ve been internally berating myself for the rubbish that I feel is streaming through the keyboard but have just kept tapping away until it starts to feel better. And it always does, one way or another.

    I worked as a teacher before I had my son, and I got immensely frustrated with the amount of marking we were supposed to do on pupils’ writing. I generally didn’t do it, actually – and then when I became Head of English made a convincing argument to Ofsted as to why we were very selective about when and what we marked within my team. Ultimately spelling/grammar etc can all be sorted out, but if kids have no confidence in their voice and their ability to write in the first place you’ve got nothing at all to work with.

    Part of the reason maybe why it took me until I was in my 30s to have the guts to follow my childhood dream to write… I’m very glad I finally took the plunge, even if I still have a way to go before I manage to turn it into a new career!

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    1. If only more teachers were like you, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head and I bet your students benefitted from your wisdom. I’m so pleased you have taken the plunge. I can’t wait to read more of your blog. Love this link up.

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  10. Really well said. I think new bloggers appreciate finding the parameters in “how to” posts but those who want to write in whatever form will be pulled into just doing so, whatever the outcome – they may just find it harder to find an audience who gets them. A niche market is often a good thing. Thanks for sharing X

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  11. How to respond to a ‘how to’ blog post on blogging: What you said! 😉

    I started my first blog in 2009 and haven’t looked back. I read ‘how to’ posts and promptly ignore them. I must admit that incorrect grammar does jump out at me but only because I am often in proofreading mode. I’m sure I make plenty of mistakes too. And some grammar ‘rules’ are made to me broken (see what I did there?)! 😉

    Like

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